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I AM in Control.org Iowa Adolescents Making Choices to Control Their Future Teen:Health, Relationship, Body and Sexuality
Feb 25

Forgiving My Family

Posted By iamincontrol | February 25, 2014

Forgiving my family
By Hannah

Family is such a gift, and I didn’t realize it until I felt like I had lost it for good.

I grew up in Arizona. Until I was fifteen, my family was very happy. Right after I turned fifteen, my mother was diagnosed with cancer, my father quit his job of sixteen years, and their marriage began to crumble. Both of my parents were very busy trying to handle their own struggles, so I, at sixteen, became the primary parent of my little brother and sister. My mother began disappearing for weeks at a time, and my father did the same. He had struggled with alcoholism for my entire life, but this was when it became extreme.

He came to me on a Thursday night, and told me that we would be moving to his hometown in North Iowa on Monday morning, and that I was not allowed to say anything to my mother (if I saw her) or my siblings. We left our home, full of our things and our memories and our love, on that Monday morning and never returned. We left my mom with all of those things along with emptiness and fear, and I didn’t have any contact with her for almost three years after that day.

Fast forward to today, almost four years later. I am now a full-time student, working to put myself through college (and barely scraping by), who lives an hour and a half from the siblings that were once my own children. I now consider my mom my best friend. My father has yet to put the bottle down, but I have faith that one day, he’ll see the light.

The events that occurred in my family made me who I am today and taught me many things about life. I learned that my faith is one of the only things I feel comfortable leaning on. I learned that just because your past has been full of let-downs and struggle, it doesn’t mean you should expect that from your future. Finally, I learned that there is no better way to leave bitterness behind you than to forgive. Forgive yourself, forgive your parents, and forgive your circumstances. You are the only person who can make the final decision on how you react to any event.

If I could give anyone in this situation – or even a situation like it – advice, it would be to remember that it’s going to be in everyone’s best interest for you to ask for help. You may be more than capable of dealing with it on your own, but don’t. Turn away from that and reach out in any way you can. You deserve to be a kid for as long as you can, and you deserve to witness someone’s unconditional love for you. You deserve love, and you deserve trust and help.  Forgetting that will harden your heart, your mind and your soul. Don’t lose hope, and don’t lose yourself.